The people of pride

Every year since 2011, I’ve done a photo series on the Vancouver Pride Parade (though now I’m branching out to other cities). Why? Because everyone in attendance at the parade is absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous.

I grew up in a place known nationally for its homophobia. Sexuality was always this distant, fringe thing, and anything outside of well-defined limitations was, well, something to be protested, not celebrated.

It turned out I was completely wrong. About a lot of things.

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I love Vancouver, but it doesn’t love me

Versions of this article appeared in The Province, Huffington Post, and Megaphone Magazine

When I first moved to Vancouver, it felt like living in the future. Hell, a lot of TV shows and movies set in the future use Vancouver as their backdrop. It just feels like a place where so much is going right–the buildings shine, the water glistens, and the grass is green year-round, and there’s a progressiveness and thoughtfulness that permeates everything. The city cares about social justice, about the environment (Vancouver aims to be the most environmentally-friendly city in the world by 2020), about the day-to-day lives of the people who live in it.

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One of my favourite games of 2015 has been DONTNOD’s Life is Strange. It’s a brilliant indie-film-coming-of-age-time-travel-story about a girl who’s recently returned to her home town and struggling to repair past friendships. Oh, and try to prevent the town from being destroyed by a crazy magical tornado, a disaster she might be able to avert by manipulating time.

No one would be able to claim that it’s a flawless game, but it does so much stunningly right that it’s going to be on my mind for a long time. At some point, I might need to write about how the gameplay works to mirror the emotions of the main character–Max–with the emotions of the player. That’s some fantastic stuff. But right now, there’s one thing that I was to focus on: pacing.

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Cold Boot

This was originally published on Medium back in February, 2015

I grew up in one of the most incredible eras. The timing was really impeccable. I was born the same year the Macintosh was released. The proliferation of personal computers is something I witnessed first-hand. I remember monitors that could show only orange, followed by CGA (3 colours), EGA (16 colours), and VGA (256 colours, which was nothing short of a revelation). It was a complicated, new, and occasionally scary world.

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How to get a job in the game industry

I would kill to work in the games industry. But how do I break in? Where should I go to school? What should I be doing?

I get asked this question a lot, and the answer is…complicated. So I thought I’d answer it here, once and (mostly) for all.

Game development is a relatively new industry. If you want to be a pilot, you take aviation. If you want to be a doctor, you go to med school. But when the profession you’re interested in has only been around for a handful of years, there’s no clear way into it.

Here’s how I got into the industry.

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From Zork to Halo and Back Again

This was originally written as a guest post for the website The Fictorians

When you start a conversation about storytelling in video games, it’s hard to not immediately jump to discussions about the writing in Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted, God of War, and the other games that have graced living rooms across the globe. There’s a lot that can be said about the stories in these games–both how they’re written and how they’re presented. Some of these games tell expertly penned and deeply engaging stories, and there are some seriously talented people behind them. People like Ragnar Tornquist, Amy Hennig, and Chris Avellone have left their prints on the entire industry.

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